Weekly News Update November 30 - December 4, 2020


UN AND PARTNERS RELEASE RECORD HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE PLAN AS COVID-19 WREAKS HAVOC


  • 235 million people worldwide will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021 - an increase of 40 per cent in a year.

  • UN-coordinated response plans presented today aim to reach 160 million of those most in need of life-saving support. The estimated cost is $35 billion.

  • Fifty-six countries affected by humanitarian crises and the fallout of the pandemic are included. The UN Secretary-General calls on the world to “stand with people in their darkest hour of need”.

The Global Humanitarian Overview 2021 and media resources are available here. The launch from Geneva is webcast live at 9 a.m. CET here. Video package is available here. (Geneva, 1 December 2020) – The shock of COVID-19 has pushed the number of people who need humanitarian assistance worldwide to a record high – up by 40 per cent compared to the same time last year. If all those who will need humanitarian aid next year lived in one country, it would be the world’s fifth largest nation, with a population of 235 million. The UN and its partners aim to help 160 million of the most vulnerable people who face hunger, conflict, displacement, and the impacts of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jens Laerke Deputy Spokesperson United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)Phone: +41 22 917 11 42 Mobile: +41 (0)79 472 9750 Email: laerke@un.org Twitter: @JensLaerke

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir,

PRESIDENT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

December 1, 2020


Excellencies,

Mr. Secretary-General,


I would like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for organizing this event to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and for the opportunity to address this poignant event.

Since the founding of the United Nations 75 years ago, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been on our agenda.


Despite the significant efforts that may have been made, peace in the Middle East is unfortunately still far away.


And it is the Palestinian civilians who suffer most from decades of occupation, use of excessive and disproportionate force, arbitrary arrests, demolitions, illegal settlement activities, and other injustices. Of the 5 million people in Palestine, almost half need humanitarian assistance, over a million of whom are children.


Attempts to erode the status of Jerusalem, threats of annexation and the inhumane blockade in Gaza, have all been part of a recurring pattern, which severely curtails the fundamental rights and freedoms of Palestinians.


Generations have been born into this desperate situation.


Generations have lived in a permanent state of emergency.


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the insecurity and extremely complex humanitarian conditions that many vulnerable Palestinians, including women and girls, already experience on a daily basis.


Distinguished delegates,

The parameters for a resolution to the conflict are clear. In 1947, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, which formed the legal basis for the establishment of the State of Israel, and a second state, for the Palestinian people.


However, in the seven decades that followed, we have failed to establish a state for the Palestinian people.


A two-state solution recognized by Resolution 181, is the only premise for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians, to bring security and prosperity to all.


The United Nations must continue to support Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of international law and bilateral agreements and realizing the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.


These terms of reference cannot be changed. The rights of Palestinian people are not up for negotiations.

Only constructive negotiations between the parties, in good faith, with support from the international community and adhering to long-standing United Nations resolutions and long-agreed parameters, will bring about a just and durable solution.


I therefore encourage, in the strongest terms, all parties to embrace peace, set aside differences and put the interests of the people they serve first.


Excellencies,


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) plays a vital role to meet the needs of 5.6 million Palestinian refugees.


Despite their crucial work, funding gaps continue. Last month, UNRWA issued an emergency call for humanitarian assistance amid a dire cash-flow crisis that has left it unable to pay the salaries of its nearly 30,000 employees.


UNRWA needs predictable and sustained funding to ensure stability and security for Palestine refugees. We must do our utmost to support them until a just, fair, agreed and realistic solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees is finally reached, within the framework of a two-state solution.


Excellencies,


I would like to take this opportunity to express my condolences for the passing of Doctor Saeb Erekat who succumbed to COVID-19. He was a true champion of the Palestinian cause and died before the realization of justice, freedom and peace, a goal he dedicated his life to.


Doctor Erekat’s vision and this International Day of Solidarity reminds us of our collective, unfinished task of achieving peace in the Middle East. The United Nations will not waver in its commitment to the Palestinian people.


Today, let us reaffirm our commitment to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people and to building a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.


Thank you very much Mr President.




The Russian mission convenes an informal Arria-formula VTC of Security Council members on the subject of

“Implementation of the 2015 Minsk Package of Measures on the settlement in Ukraine: a year since Paris “Normandie” Summit”



The meeting is organized to provide an opportunity for the sides in the settlement process in Minsk, the Normandy Four members and all interested Council members to exchange views and analysis on the challenges in the implementation of UNSC resolution 2202(2015) and Statement of its President S/PRST/2018/12 which endorsed the "Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements" and encouraged to implement all the measures agreed in the Normandy format and the Minsk Contact Group. Briefers: * Ms. Natalia Nikonorova, Representative of Donetsk in the Minsk Contact Group; * Mr. Vladislav Deinego, Representative of Lugansk in the Minsk Contact Group; * Mr. Mikhail Pogrebinskiy, Director of the "Kyiv Center of Political Studies and Conflictology"



Press and PR Office, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations


THE SECRETARY-GENERAL


ADDRESS AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY:

“THE STATE OF THE PLANET”


2 December 2020





SUMMARY OF PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR

United Nations Headquarters, New York

1 December 2020

RIGHTS OF PALESTINIAN PEOPLE NOT UP FOR NEGOTIATION, PRESIDENT SAYS

  • Peace in the Middle East is still far away. And it is Palestinian civilians who suffer the most from decades of occupation, use of excessive and disproportionate force, arbitrary arrests, demolitions, illegal settlement activities and other injustices.

  • That is what the President said this morning at an event to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. That event was organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.

  • The President added that generations have been born into this desperate situation – and generations have lived in a permanent state of emergency.

  • The rights of the Palestinian people are not up for negotiation, he said.

  • He also noted that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) needs predictable and sustained funding – and we must do our utmost to support them.

PRESIDENT STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF RE-COMMITTING TO ENDING A.I.D.S. BY 2030

  • Today is World AIDS Day. In a video message, the President said it is crucial that we ensure global solidarity and shared responsibility in our human-rights centred responses to both HIV/AIDS and COVID-19.

  • He asked the public to join him in re-committing to ending AIDS by 2030.

GLOBAL GOALS CAN BE A BLUEPRINT FOR PANDEMIC RECOVERY

  • The President today addressed the Joint informal high-level meeting of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development.

  • In his remarks, he said the Sustainable Development Goals, which were set back by the events of this past year, can also serve as the blueprint for our recovery.

  • He added that we cannot let COVID-19 become the excuse we use a decade from now, when asked why we failed to meet expectations. We must utilize this opportune moment, however tragic the circumstances, to charge forward.

PLENARY ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON SEAFARERS & SPORT

  • The General Assembly plenary adopted two resolutions by consensus this morning. The first resolution was new and submitted by Indonesia. It focused on international cooperation to address challenges faced by seafarers as a result of COVID-19 – to support global supply chains.

  • The second resolution reaffirms that sport is an important enabler of sustainable development.

ASSEMBLY TO HONOR WORLD WAR TWO VICTIMS

  • This afternoon, the General Assembly will hold a special solemn meeting in commemoration of all victims of the Second World War.

  • The President is expected to note that, while many World War II survivors are no longer with us, their fortitude should inspire us to come together and strengthen our multilateral system – so we can find solutions to today’s greatest challenges.

LANDMARK SPECIAL SESSION ON COVID-19 STARTS THIS THURSDAY

  • The General Assembly’s special session on COVID-19 starts this Thursday, 3 December.

  • The first day will feature statements by the President of the General Assembly, followed by the Secretary-General, the Presidents of the Economic and Social Council and Security Council, and the Chair of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. It will then hear from world leaders.

  • According to the latest speakers list, there are 141 speakers inscribed, including 53 Heads of State, 39 Heads of Government, 4 Deputy Prime Ministers and 38 Ministers.

  • The second day, 4 December, we will hear from the President of the General Assembly, the Deputy Secretary-General and the head of WHO.

  • There will then be three panel discussions.

  • The first is entitled “The UN System Response to COVID-19”. Panelists will include the heads of WHO, OCHA, OHCHR, UNDP, UNHCR and WFP.

  • The second panel, which will be moderated by the BBC’s Lyse Doucet, will focus on COVID-19 vaccines. Panelists will include Prof. Uğur Şahin and Dr. Özlem Türeci of BioNTech; Prof. Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University/AstraZeneca; Dr. Seth Berkley of GAVI; and Dr. Richard Hatchett of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; as well as the head of UNICEF and Sir Andrew Witty, who is a WHO Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator.

  • There will also be a pre-recorded video by Adar Poonawalla of the Serum Institute of India.

  • The third panel is entitled: “Resilience and Recovering Better from COVID-19”. Panelists will include the heads of WHO, UNFPA, UN Women, ILO and World Wildlife Federation International.

  • Asked what the point of the special session was, and whether it was “far too late” to even be holding it, the Spokesperson said the President agreed that it was too late and had already stressed that it should have been held last summer. The Spokesperson added that Member States had decided to hold the special session, and the point was to recommit to multilateralism. He said we were currently seeing many responses to COVID-19, but the goal now was to bring countries together, along with such groups as UN actors, the private sector and vaccine developers, to take stock and see where we stood, to identify gaps and challenges and then to move forward together – so that we had a unified response that made sense and could actually combat this pandemic.

  • Asked how it would be possible to fit in all the expected Member State speakers, the Spokesperson said the special session would consist of two days, both lasting from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. If not all Member States were able to be heard on the first day, the President’s office would see if the remaining statements could be heard on the second day, after the panel discussions. Asked about the possibility of a separate spillover day, the Spokesperson said the President’s office would first need to see how the first day progressed – but as of now, the special session was only expected to last for the announced two days.

NO OFFICIAL REQUESTS MADE ON O.I.C. ISLAMOPHOBIA RESOLUTION

  • The Spokesperson was asked about the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) adopting a resolution on Islamophobia, which authorized the OIC Permanent Missions in New York to jointly table a motion in the General Assembly. He was asked if the President was aware of this and about any related developments in the Assembly.

  • The Spokesperson later said that, as of now, there had been no official request from any Member State or observer in relation to this OIC resolution. The President was aware of the media reports.

PRESIDENT’S PRESS CONFERENCE POSTPONED

  • Asked why the President’s press conference had not taken place today, as previously announced, the Spokesperson said the President had unfortunately needed to postpone it.

  • As soon as the Spokesperson had a new date, he would announce that.



Ambassador Gilad Erdan welcomes drop in support for anti-Israel resolutions at the UN

Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Switzerland and others moved from abstaining to opposing some of the resolutions following an intense diplomatic effort by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli delegation to the United Nations led by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan Ambassador Erdan: “These resolutions symbolize the UN's detachment from reality, and I thank the countries that sent a clear message against the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”

(New York - December 2, 2020) Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan welcomed the drop in support for the annual batch of anti-Israel resolutions submitted Wednesday to the General Assembly at the request of the Palestinians. Following an intense diplomatic effort by Israel worldwide, several countries changed their voting patterns on the resolutions, known as the “Palestinian package,” causing an increase in the number of countries opposing some of them entirely. “I would like to thank the countries that changed their voting pattern in favor of Israel. They have voted against the systematic anti-Israel bias at the UN,” said Erdan. “I also would like to extend special thanks to the countries that stand by Israel’s side each year in opposing these despicable resolutions." “No other country in the world faces such discrimination in the UN and it is time for more UN members to join us in changing this organization’s anti-Israel agenda," he said. “The countries that supported Israel today have understood that this package of resolutions does nothing to forward peace but serves only to entrench the Palestinian’s rejectionist position and deepen the conflict.” Germany, Austria and Bulgaria were among the countries that switched from abstaining to opposing some of the resolutions. Slovenia, Switzerland and Papua New Guinea moved from abstaining to voting against the resolution on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, while Singapore, Eritrea and Uruguay moved from voting in favor to abstention. In another resolution dealing with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which produces reports and activities reflecting only the Palestinian narrative, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and Papua New Guinea moved from abstention to voting against, and Uruguay and Iceland moved from voting in favor to abstaining. In his remarks at the General Assembly prior to the vote, Ambassador Erdan said that, “for decades, this assembly has met to discuss the so-called question of Palestine. Yet every year, the discussion produces no realistic solutions and no useful changes to the situation. To any outside listener, it is clear why the answers to this question remain forever elusive: these yearly debates are completely detached from reality.” Erdan pointed out that this year’s resolutions failed to refer to the groundbreaking Abraham Accords peace agreements signed between Israel and three Arab states: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. “Can this forum be any more detached from the real world?” Erdan asked. “For years, the Palestinians have held the interests of the Arab world hostage while the international community has cynically voted in favor of its resolutions. Arab countries were forbidden from recognizing Israel's existence and banned from having relations with us unless we surrendered to the Palestinians outrageous demands. Thankfully, the Abraham Accords have shattered that paradigm.” -- Daniel Flesch Senior Advisor / Spokesperson Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN


Yemen: Special Envoy Griffiths supports call for global ceasefire



UN Chief call to confront pandemic with urgency, to save lives & build a better future together


Opening remarks by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on the 31st Special Session of the General Assembly in response to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic (3-4 December 2020)




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